Haydn’s “Farewell” at 250, Webster’s Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony and the Idea of Classical Style at 30

Tue, Oct 18, 2022
5:00 pm EDT - 6:30 pm EDT

This autumn marks the 250th anniversary of the composition and first storied performance of Haydn’s famous “Farewell” symphony, and is just over 30 years since the publication of James Webster’s groundbreaking monograph Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony and the Idea of Classical Style. To honor these anniversaries, the Encounters with Eighteenth-Century Music forum will host an online discussion of Webster’s book on Tuesday, October 18, 5:00-6:30pm (EDT). Noted scholars Poundie Burstein, Elaine Sisman, and Dean Sutcliffe will discuss aspects of the book and its impact on Haydn scholarship, including analytical approaches to the third movement as expressive of serious and even subversive sentiments (Burstein), and historiographical, cultural, and reception perspectives (Sisman and Sutcliffe).  James Webster will respond to each panelist, and offer his own perspectives on writing the book and on its place in Haydn research 30 years later. The session will conclude with a discussion/question period open to registered attendees.


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To join the meeting, you will need the meeting ID and individualized passcode, which will be sent to you in the registration confirmation email.


James Webster is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Music at Cornell University, emeritus.  He specializes in the history and theory of music of the 18th and 19th centuries, with a particular focus on Haydn.  He is the author of Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony and the Idea of Classical Style … (Cambridge, 1991), and co-editor of Haydn Studies (Norton, 1981) and Opera Buffa in Mozart’s Vienna (Cambridge, 1997).  He has published widely on Haydn (including the Haydn article in the revised New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians), Mozart (especially his operas), Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms, as well as editorial practice, performance practice, and the historiography of music.  His critical edition of the string quartets Opp. 42, 50, and 54–55 appeared in the complete edition, Joseph Haydn: Werke (Henle).  In theory he specializes in issues of musical form, Schenkerian analysis, and analytical methodology.  He was a founding editor of the journal Beethoven Forum

Among Webster’s many honors are the Einstein and Kinkeldey Awards of the American Musicological Society, a Fulbright dissertation grant, two Senior Research Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany).  He has served as President of the American Musicological Society, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Executive Committee (Vorstand) of the Board of Directors of the Joseph Haydn Institute (Cologne).


Poundie Burstein is Professor of Music Theory and Analysis at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is a former President of the Society for Music Theory, former editor of SMT-V, and the author of Journeys Through Galant Expositions (OUP, 2020). Professor Burstein’s primary areas of interest include Schenkerian analysis, analysis of eighteenth-century music, music theory pedagogy, and form studies.  In addition to his scholarly work, he has performed extensively as a pianist for comedy improvisation groups in the NYC area.  He has also taught at Mannes College, Columbia University, Queens College, and held an endowed chair at University of Alabama in 2010. In 1995 he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the New School University, and in 2008 he received the Outstanding Publication Award of the Society of Music Theory (SMT).


Elaine Sisman is the Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music at Columbia University, where she has taught since 1982, serving six years as department chair (1999-2005) and was President of the American Musicological Society. She is considered one of the foremost musicologists specializing in music of the Classical era. Her publications include works on Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, interweaving music with history, biography, aesthetics, and analysis. Haydn and the Classical Variation (1993) is a landmark in Haydn research, and her book Mozart: The ‘Jupiter’ Symphony is noted for its cogent discussion of rhetoric and the sublime in one of the best-known works of the classical repertory. Essays include the opus concept in the eighteenth century, Haydn’s theater symphonies, Die Schöpfung, Mozart’s string quartets, Don Giovanni, ideas of pathétique and fantasia around 1800, Haydn’s Metastasian opera, and the role of memory and invention in the late works of Beethoven. Honors include grants form the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies fellowship and the Alfred Einstein award for the best article from the American Musicological Society.

Prof. Sisman has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, and has received the Alfred Einstein Award of the American Musicological Society for best article by a younger scholar. She serves on the board of directors of the Joseph Haydn-Institut in Cologne, the Akademie für Mozartforschung in Salzburg, and the Haydn Society of North America, and as associate editor of The Musical Quarterly. She served as president of the American Musicological Society 2005-06, and was awarded honorary membership in AMS in 2011. Columbia University has honored her with its Great Teacher Award and award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum.


W. Dean Sutcliffe is Professor in the School of Music at the University of Auckland, and has been co-editor of Eighteenth-Century Music since its inception in 2004. Recent publications include an edition of the three string quartets Op. 42 by Adalbert Gyrowetz (2017), the entry ‘Musical Materials’ in The Cambridge Haydn Encyclopedia (2019), the chapter ‘Gracious Beethoven?’ in Beethoven Studies 4 (2020) and the book Instrumental Music in an Age of Sociability: Haydn, Mozart and Friends (2020), which has recently been awarded the Marjorie Weston Emerson Prize by the Mozart Society of North America. He has an article forthcoming in the journal Music Analysis entitled “What is Haydn Doing in a John Field Nocturne?”